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"Queen Mother of Progress"

Collette Fournier | Ghana

Organization: Collette Fournier Photography, Kamoinge.com

Bepoase; Ghana; Ms. Alexandreena Dixon enstolled as The Queen Mother of Progress. Surrounded by Queen Mothers of neighboring villages; Alexandreena Dixon was enstolled on Aug. 19; 2010; as Nana Yaa Oforiwaa Amanfo I; (Queen Mother of Progress) for Bepoase; Ghana. Nana Yaa is responsible for helping the village grow economically. The durbar began with wailing to the village palace to be seated among the chiefs and elders. The four-hour celebration consisted of dancing; speeches; and the traditional rituals of being raised and lowered three times on the stool then being dusted with a white powder as a form of protection. Due to the solemn nature of the occasion; she was draped in black kente.; After the enstoolment; she changed to the ceremonial white and black kente. I was able to join her in April 2017 to photograph portraits of the people of Beopase and assist Nana Dreena with Administrative duties. Her Mother Mrs. Janet Fritz joined her for the Durbar special occasion.

SDN Social Documentary Network

“Queen Mother of Progress”

I prefer to work in a photographic series which is evidenced in “The Queen Mother of Progress”. My body of work highlights an African American community leader, Ms. Alexandreena Dixon the Executive Director of Chiku Awali African Dance and Culture. The path Nana Dreena has taken is exemplary.

Nana Dreena Dixon was invited to become the Queen Mother of Progress for the Ghanaian village of Bepoase in 2010 by Pastor and Drummer Jerry Dzokoto and educational administrator Duah Kwaku. I photographed the enstoolment ceremony in 2010 and visited Bepoase’s school children with educational gifts in 2017.

Composition and design elements are essential when composing my photography. At times, scale prevails, other times complementary colors or interplaying of black and white tones prevail. Some moments I place the subject in the middle of the scene for visual impact and crop images within the camera frame. I’m developing this body of work as a free standing display of images to be in enlarged with captions. I envision exhibiting my work in museums, libraries and cultural institutions.

“Retrospective: Spirit of A People”, Artist’s Gallery Talk Finkelstein Memorial Library, Spring Valley, NY; The Cultural Center of Cape Cod, Blue Room Gallery, So. Yarmouth, MA.; Genesee Arts & Education, Baobab Gallery, Rochester, NY; AIR, CEJJES Institute, Pomona NY; Garnerville Arts Gallery, Garnerville, NY; Samuel Harps, playwright, Shades Repertory Theater; Edward Hopper Arts and Education Center, Nyack, NY; CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Eisenhart Museum Gallery, Rochester Museum and Science Center; Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba; African American Museum in Philadelphia; Catalyst Gallery, Beacon, NY; Kamoinge, AIPAD; PhotoPlace Gallery, Middlebury, VT; Mount Vernon Arts & Culture, Library; Upstream Gallery, Dobbs Ferry, NY; Visceglia Gallery, Caldwell College, NJ; College of New Rochelle, Gordon Parks Gallery; SUNY Empire State College; Soros Institute, NYC; AAUW, Summit College Club, New Providence, NJ; Columbia College, Chicago and Detroit; Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM); Rochester Institute of Technology; Dell Pryor Gallery, Detroit Michigan; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NY; African American Museum, Hempstead, N.Y; Jamaica Arts Center, Jamaica, NY; Tweed Gallery, The City Hall of New York, Office of the Mayor, New York City; Curator, "There is a World Through Our Eyes: Perceptions and Visions of the African American Photographer", 1993; A multi-sited exhibition at SUNY Rockland Community College, Blue Hill Cultural Center, Arts Alliance of Haverstraw, Rockland Center for the Arts, and Arts Council of Rockland; adduna, Bill Berry, Jr. Auburn, NY;

 

 

 

Collette V. Fournier Photographer’s Statement

My mission as a photographer and educator is to give service to my community. As a member of several photography, civic, and cultural organizations, I’m in the midst of juggling several photographic projects. I am currently securing funding for “Queen Mother of Progress” a documentation of an African American woman, Nana Alexandreena Dixon who is the Executive Director of Chiku Awali African Arts and Culture based in Rockland County, NY. Nana Dreena was enstooled as “Queen Mother of Progress” in the village of Bepoase, Ghana. With a stron belief in documenting our own stories, it is my mission to see this Afrocentric exhibition of her journey in museums and cultural institutions complete with captioned material.

As a documentation of my journey, I share my "Retrospective: Spirit of a People", power point presentation with educational and artistic communities. “Retrospective: Spirit of a People” is a historic embodiment of four decades of my photography archives. The hour and a half presentation with a Q & A, takes the viewer from black and white to color imagery and from film to digital capture. Fournier’s serial works explore themes of The Amistad: From Mystic Seaport to Nova Scotia, Post Hurricane Katrina, Travels to West Africa, and my communities. A highlight came in April 2017 when I shared my Retrospective as two day seminar with students in the Department of Communication Design at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.

I collected my archives of the Black struggle in protest and recently produced a powerpoint presentation “Taking the Struggle to the Streets: Black Lives Always Mattered” for the Gordon Black Cultural Arts Center. My photography presentation was part of a series that celebrated my mentor, Dr. Edmund W. Gordon's 100th birthday.

I love the new technology platforms and am working on reintroducing “Faces and Places of West Africa”, transitioning an audio/visual photography project from first visits to Senegal and Mali in 1987-88 with photography, narration, sound effects and music into a power point presentation.

There are environmental portraits and stories in southern communities of the United States that I wish to document. Feeling that my vision is stronger than ever, my mission is to keep photographing, producing, exhibiting and archiving my imagery.

Collette V. Fournier

(845) 304-5465

fourniercollette147@gmail.com

cfournie@sunyrockland.edu

www.collettefournierphotography.com

NY Address: 252 No. Main St. G-18 Spring Valley, NY 10977

FL Address: 1580 NW 98th Terrace, Pembroke Pines, FL 33024

Kamoinge.com

IG Judah_Fournier

Facebook: Judah Fournier

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